The Art of Advent: St. Joseph’s Dream, by Derek Rotty

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St. Joseph’s Dream is in the public domain.

By Derek Rotty, Catholic Exchange, Dec. 20, 2022

Derek Rotty is a husband, father, historian, theologian, & Director of Evangelization & Discipleship at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Jackson, TN. His first book, A Life of Conversion: Meeting Christ in the Gospels, is available from Our Sunday Visitor Press. Follow his other ruminations at

Avatar photoViewing and pondering sacred art offers the faithful a great way to prepare for the birth of Our Blessed Lord at Christmas. This series of articles will highlight several pieces of art related to the Gospel readings of this year’s lectionary cycle, as well as two pieces related to the week leading to Christmas. Each of these pieces of art allows us to reflect deeply on God’s plan for our lives, and to be prepared for the joyful celebration of Our Lord’s Nativity.

The Gospel reading for the Fourth Sunday of Advent tells us “how the birth of Jesus came about.” First, we hear of Mary’s mysterious and divine pregnancy. Then, we hear about the decision Joseph made to divorce Mary quietly, because “he was a righteous man.” Next, we hear about the appearance of an angel in Joseph’s dream, telling the young husband to “take Mary your wife into your home.” After the description of the dream, we receive the author’s commentary that this whole episode was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy about Emmanuel, “God with us.” Finally, we hear of Joseph’s decision after he awoke, the reversal of his original decision (Matthew 1:18-24).  …

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